Friday, December 4, 2009

CPE/CEP Working Document

Towards a Peoples’

Board of Education

Fighting for a

Free Public Education

Powered by the People

Given the fact that the BloomKlein Dept of MisEducation is increasingly alienating and disempowering parents, students and educators from all aspects of the decision-making processes, the CPE/CEP is obligated to devise an alternative to this oppressive set of policies.

A Peoples’ Board of Education (PBE) can be the organizing glue we are seeking to move forward in a united front effort to reverse the BloomKlein mandate to privatize public education and to criminalize our youth and parents.

A PBE would also be structure in a manner that directly empowers the vast majority of parents and students of this city--- countering the racist white-dominated structure that has been re-enforced by Mayor Bloomberg with the silent complicities of the UFT.

The PBE is both an explicit shadow governance structure and a citywide parent-student centered service provider when it comes to day-to-day advocacy work.

The PBE would:

create a Center for Parent Advocacy that would initially create a contact list of all progressive Parent Advocates in the city

actually engage in some parent advocacy work

help jumpstart the Parents’ Union

advocate for Adult Ed classes to be in neighborhood public schools

Set up a school database that shows Classroom Profile: the relationship between a school’s individual classroom population and grades. This would mean that each student's report card have the number of students in the class, for each class. This profile would include the original capacity and the current capacity of the school building.

Advocate for neighborhood schools to utilize BOCES (Board Of Cooperative Educational Services) services-- all the other NY State public school systems do. SEE:

We (the CPE/CEP Membership) would select 15 to 20 Citywide Peoples’ Board of Education members that would not only reflect our progressive views, but also the demographic reality of today’s NYC. People like Louis Reyes, Luis Acosta, Esmeralda Simmons, Adelaide Sanford, Jose Alfaro, Our Own Muba, Jitu Weusi, Warren Minor, and others would constitute this Board. It would meet on a monthly basis in a public setting. Its initial work would be to critique the BloomKlein policies and offer progressive alternatives.

Devise a PBE Budget based on the current amount of money allocated to the BloomKlein DOE. This would serve as a dual purpose:

A-- Expose how billions are wasted by the current regime

B-- Present our alternative and more democratic way of financing public education that has parental/student/educator input

Introduce the notion and campaign for the Neighborhood Teacher Recruitment Program (NTRP).

This campaign would advocate the immediate reallocation of some $60million currently being spent on teacher recruitment primarily from OUTSIDE NYC to recruit Black, Latino and Asian teachers from the neighborhoods of NYC. In addition, there would be at least one teacher-themed high school in each boro that would be part of this campaign.

This NTRP campaign would push for the policy of:

--Free Tuition and CUNY/SUNY institutions for those full-time and in good standing from undergraduate to graduate school (Free Tuition also may be attained at participating private universities)

--50% of rent/mortgage paid for while fulltime and in good standing

--30% of rent/mortgage paid for during the first 3 years of fulltime teaching

In the interim, the PBE would publicize the fact of disappearing Black/Latino educators and offer policy that would reverse this hemmoraging.

The PBE would also be the center from which policy suggestions would be written and critiqued. This, in turn, would be publicly presented to the State Legislature representatives and the NY City Council. The PBE would be advocating a Peoples’ Referendum to End Mayoral Control before 2015 as well as having the City Council replace the State Legislative body when it comes to setting education policy (i.e. Education Home Rule).

This means that the PBE would hold public hearings on all the violations and unprofessional operations of the BloomKlein DOE. The PBE would, therefore, work in collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Medgar Evers College’s Center for Law & Social Justice, NYCLU, DC37, Center for Constitutional Rights, Urban Justice Center, NESRI, etc....

The PBE would have its own website: that would be interactive and archival with ongoing video testimony from students, parents and educators. The PBE would also have a facebook/social networking presence as well as a radio presence on a weekly basis to constantly critique/expose and envision.

• The PBE would host a series of “Undoing Racism” workshops for education activists including educators, parents and concerned community folk.

The PBE would have an office with a paid staff fully functional by the end of 2010. It would have at least one boro office in each boro staffed by volunteers and housed in free to almost free space.

IMMEDIATE Stuff the PBE can do:

• Advocacy work

• Tutorial help and referral

• High School Choice help (How to use that Big Hi School Directory and online service)

• College application help

• ESL (for student and family) referral

• Health support Referral. Note: we could line up cooperating doctors and willing community health centers... and maybe even get Doctors Without Borders to pay a three day visit for NYC's school children.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Fight to stop BloomKlein's Charter School bumrush is heating up! Here are two video reports from the Battle Against Girls Pep Charter School in District 1.



Here's a Ednotes Online report from that powerfully raucous meeting...
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wild Night at CEC1 Meeting on Girls Prep Charter: Updated

Last night saw an outpouring of public school parents from many schools on the Lower East Side (district 1) opposing the DoE/Girls Prep charter to expand to include a middle school. But that is what charters do. They keep expanding until there is little remnant of the public school they occupy. If you want to compare it to a cancer, feel free to do so.

The Gotham School report on the meeting captures little of what really went on. I left this comment:

Were we at the same meeting? I think this report doesn't represent what really went on last night. It was one of the few times where a massive opposition to the way charters are placed has occurred, akin to the Marine Park protest against the Hebrew Charter last May and the PS 15 protest in Red Hook against the PAVE expansion in Sept. But that meeting was somewhat balanced between the groups. The CEC 1 meeting was overwhelmingly opposed by an extremely large number of people, while Girls Prep had little comparative representation. (They probably don't have the same resources Eva Moskowitz has to hire buses.)

The fervor of the crowd reached epic proportions of anger and condemnation of the DEO and its policies toward shared space. There were few attacks on Girls Prep reps though they were outnumbered at least 10 to 1. Almost every public school in the area was represented, with a few principals getting up and making a statement. Many teachers and parents spoke about the DEO methods of judging whether a school has space. A method that doesn't account for the realities of how schools really function. The theme of the evening was the divisive tactics used by the DOE to pit schools against each other. But that is the mantra of the ed deformers. Throw them all into the pit and see who emerges, but all along the way make sure to tip in favor of the charters. Strong statements were made by local politicians too.

Is there any question that Girls Prep, which as was pointed out yesterday moved out of PS 15 claiming they only would go to 5th grade, but is now reversing and asking to go to 8th grade. And one day will ask for more space to go to 12th grade I would bet.

The only question is which school gets caught with the hot potato. Bet on the one that had the least presence yesterday. PS 20 and PS 184 may have won a reprieve with their massive presences yesterday.

Note: I find it interesting that there is one quote from each side with the Girls Prep founder disparaging quote equating an art room with a civil rights issue being given such prominence when there were a hundred things said by opponents of all the plans that were more relevant.

Fair and balanced?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Coalition for Public Education/
Coalición por la Educación Pública

Confirmed Meeting Schedule for November and December 2009
For info. please contact Mark A. Torres, Co-chair at 646 696-8485,

1. Thursday, November 5th

at DC-37, 125 Barclay Street (Murray Street Entrance)
Downstairs Dining Room
Take 1,2,3, or A,C trains to Chambers Street

2. Thursday, November 19th

at The Urban Justice Center
123 William Street, 16th Floor
(between Fulton Street and John Street)
Manhattan, NY 10038
Take the 2,3,4,5 or A,C,J,M,Z to Fulton Street/Broadway-Nassau Station

3. Thursday, December 3rd

at DC-37, 125 Barclay Street (Murray Street Entrance)
Room 11
Take 1,2,3 or A,C trains to Chambers Street

4. Thursday, December 17th
at DC-37, 125 Barclay Street (Murray Street Entrance)
Downstairs Dining Room
Take 1,2,3, or A,C trains to Chambers Street

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Peoples Voice Newsletter #3
(Spanish & English versions)

Note: Here's our latest newsletter ready for downloading and distribution. Just click on the image to enlarge and copy. You can also either email the link or send the jpg file to others.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Petition to Help Save
Hundreds of School Aide Jobs

Please click on and printout this petition and get as many signatures as possible by Thursday 15 October!

Bloomberg is making moves to destroy hundreds of Black and Latino families by this mass firing. He is also laying the groundwork for even more police presence in our school buildings... attempting to gain complete police control over our children's behavior.

For collection of your signed petitions, contact your Boro Petition Coordinator;

Staten Island Contact: Gene and Loretta Prisco (718) 816-6003
Queens Contact: Brenda Walker (347) 583-5925
Manhattan: Ann Kjelberg (212) 645-3346
Brooklyn: Anna Maria Thomas (917) 656-9816
Bronx: Mark Rodriguez (917) 566-3133

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Second Newsletter!

Friday, September 18, 2009

CPE-CEP Members' Sponsored Events This section keeps us up-to-date around the various events our members sponsor all over the city

Affirm & ACT: A Social Justice Park Party!

This Saturday 19 September at 1pm, in St. Nicholas Park
located on St. Nicholas Ave. and 135th St. we will party.

We will celebrate 30 mentors, 5 Youth Councils and our efforts to end mayoral control. We will feast on the finest burgers, hotdogs and snacks. We will listen to the most beautiful soulful sounds and the most mesmerizing lyrics muttered on this side of Harlem. We will be bedazzled by b-boys & b-girls who really know how to break dance down. We will glare at glorious graff by the baddest graffiti artists in NYC. And all of this will serve to affirm our belief that we can and will make a better world. Then we will act. We will sign up for mentorships, we will get our friends to sign up for mentorships, we will encourage kids to join Youth Councils, we will get involved. We will visit the tables of organizations like Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence, like the Audre Lorde Project, like Drop the Rock, like LUCHA, GQ, C-Roots, and the D8 Youth Council, and we will sign up to take action. We will act to recruit 100 mentors, start 25 new Youth Councils, start 15 new scholarship funds, and redesign our school system by helping to create a People's Board of Education, and we will do this while smiling, dancing, and eating in celebration. Share this with your friends and your listserves, speak to a friend, text a friend, work with us, party with us, join us this Saturday to help... Transform America.

"There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now." - James Baldwin
Transform America follow us:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day of School
Protest at PS123 against
HSA Charter School’s Invasion

Thanx to Angel Gonzalez
of the Grassroots Education Movement, GEM

September 9, 2009 – District 5, Harlem NYC

First day of school, 6:30AM: the Community Public School 123, the Harlem Success Academy (HSA), an invading Private Charter School in the same public building on 141 St., and the Dept of Education (DOE), were treated on the street to a hands-on lesson in justice, equality & democracy. 25 parents, teachers& education activists denounced the chaos precipitated by the HSA charter takeover of PS 123 classrooms, the disarray to their supplies & furnishings, the DOEs dictatorial imposition of charter schools, privatization and the resulting separate and unequal conditions.

Parents speak out!

One telling moment at around 6:32-6:45 — The charter schools kids are being lined up against the wall of the building. They're obviously a little frightened in the hubbub and it is not clear why they have to be there at all instead of being taken inside. The demonstrators are certainly not preventing them from entering the building. One certainly has to question what's going on here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

OUR FIRST NEWSLETTER! Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge to readable size--

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 10 Best Reasons
to Oppose Charter Schools

from CPE member Loretta Prisco

Charter schools are paid for with taxpayer dollars, but privately operated.

#10. Charters don’t serve children with special needs, English Language Learners, taking the potentially highest achieving students.

#9. Charters don’t allow parent or staff participation in decision making.

#8. Charters that are for profit serve shareholders, not students.

#7. Charters are huge moneymakers for investors exempt from union rules and some government and labor laws that provide oversight.

#6. Charters counsel out students who are low performing or discipline problems.

#5. Charters are invading our public schools and pushing them out of their buildings.

#4. Charters have been reported for corruption and incredibly high administrative salaries.

#3. Charters are taking needed resources from traditional public schools.

#2. Charters are creating a two tier system – separate but not equal schools as corporate dollars are pumped in to initially capture the student market.

And the #1 reason:

National studies show that traditional public schools are outperforming charters!

Still want charters? Have a deal for you – I don’t want to swim in the public pool. Build a swimming pool in my backyard with taxpayer money; I’ll invite only those with whom I wish to swim.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Progressive New York HipHop
Says No! To Mayoral Control

From CPE-CEP Member, Radio Rahim and Crew...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

CPE/CEP 10 August Press Conference A Success! PLUS FOUNDING CONVENTION!

For Info: 212.561.7368

New York City's Battle
for Neighborhood School Control


Sen. Perkins and advocates decry mayoral control of schools

Special to AmNews
Amsterdam News Editor

Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The mayor's victory is our children's loss," said State Sen. Bill Perkins, who voted against the mayoral control bill twice in the Senate. "Mayoral control, unfortunately, was renewed when Governor Paterson signed the bill into law on Tuesday, but the so-called amendments were not included. This underscores how in this point in time the parents are still left out; the policing in our public schools will continue to the dismay of parents and educators. Art education and cultural education will continue to not be included and there will not be the type of transparency and accountability that parents demanded and demonstrated on the steps of City Hall for."

After a stalemate in the New York State Senate over a power struggle and then a deadlock over a vote to extend the Assembly's version of mayoral control, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten what he wanted and succeeded in getting a large number of legislators to agree with his vision for 1.1 million New York City School students. Mayoral control is back until 2015.

In a closed-door session, at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, Gov. David Paterson signed the 2002 state law that the Assembly overwhelming passed in June—without the proposed amendments that the New York State Senate added to that bill. The four amendments—which still have to be debated and voted on in the Assembly—would create a parent training center, an arts advisory committee, the expansion of superintendents' roles and required public meetings on school safety.

The bill that the governor signed is very similar to the original version of the 2002 law, except for a few changes that were added to address some concerns people expressed over the mayor's governance power.

In a released statement, Gov. Paterson said, "It gives me great pleasure today to sign into law an agreement that will secure the future of New York City's school governance and allow 1.1 million schoolchildren and their families to breathe a sigh of relief. The agreement continues the progress made under Mayor Bloomberg over the last several years, while adding new layers of cohesion, stability and parental involvement. This is great news for all of the students returning to school next month, as they will continue to receive the support they need both inside and outside of the classroom."

A representative from Paterson's office could not be reached for additional comments at press time. Out of his eight appointments to the 13-member Panel for Educational Policy, the mayor will now have to name two public school parents, as determined by the bill the governor signed. The mayor will have to hold public meetings and notify parents and the community before the closing of schools; the panel will review no-bid contracts and an independent budget office will have the authority to review data on the performance of students.

News of the governor's act was expected by many, but disappointing to others. "I am disappointed," said Jitu Weusi, a long-time educator and member of The Coalition for Public Education. "We hoped that the governor would at least have had a public hearing before signing the bill. It was disappointing that it was not a more democratic process." But, Weusi said, he knew that the governor was under a lot of pressure by certain forces. "That pressure would make you do a lot of things," he said.

"We, The Coalition for Public Education, will continue to develop and build a pressure group to end mayoral control at the earliest possible date," he added.

Sam Anderson, also a member of The Coalition for Public Education, said, "Governor Paterson is part of the problem; it's official now." Paterson, Barack Obama and a host of others have fallen for mayoral control of our school system, which is mainly for predominantly Black and Latino people, said Anderson. The governor "has aligned himself up with the right wing of the Democratic party."

Anderson continued to say that the Coalition for Public Education has now got to be a "formidable" force for more parental and student involvement to mobilize and provide the basic services needed, such as a grievance procedure that will resolve issues for parents in the schools. Anderson said they must now work "school by school, district by district "to create mechanisms to develop and retain Black and Latino teachers, while continuing to create meaningful change.

Ironically, on Monday, there was a press conference sponsored by The Coalition for Public Education, along with other advocacy and political groups in attendance such as Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence; Independent Coalition on Public Education; New York Coalition for Neighborhood School Control; and the December 12th Movement that gathered to show their resistance to mayoral control, which they view as an autocratic dictatorship that has no place in a democratic system.

A furious City Councilman Charles Barron fumed, "The people must hold the governor and Senate and assemblymen accountable for mis-education of our children. The mayor been a failure, and it is very disappointing that they can't see that this mayor, who we've invested $130 billion in to educate our children, has failed miserably. And for them to give one person this dictatorial control is incorrigible."

Barron continued, "We must hold them responsible for endangering our future by putting the responsibility of educating Black and Latino children in the hands of two unqualified individuals such as Bloomberg and Klein.

"Parents have no power; the people have no power. The power was instead kept in the hands of those who are unqualified and uninterested in educating Black and Latino children, in particular, and all children in general. We hope our people have long memories come the election regarding who it was who sold our children out."

Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott were even spotted entering City Hall while the press conference was taking place. The assembly of organizers and activists booed and chanted "no mayoral control" along with "dictator" at the men as they walked by.

The same day that the press conference was taking place, Mayor Bloomberg introduced a proposal to end social promotion in public schools for grades 3–8.

Previously, the mayor instituted the policy for grades 3, 5, 7 and 8, but now has added two more grade levels, saying that the new policy to end social promotion was a step in the right direction for students.

The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) has to approve that measure. The mayor's policy on social promotion made headlines when he first promoted the educational reform.

Bloomberg fired members on the panel who had disagreed with him on the issue. This issue of mayoral control and term limits even received the attention of the federal government when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who is an open advocate for mayoral control and charter schools, sent a letter to an influential educational advocacy group to influence the group to stop fighting for term limits for members of PEP. Even President Obama has made known his admiration for "innovative" practices regarding public education, which includes "schools of choice" that are run independently but receive public money.

Many have expressed their concern for some of the educational initiatives that are being proposed in this season of educational reform, such as paying or firing teachers based on performance and student achievement, and closing down schools that do not make the grade.

All this comes at time when more states with heavy urban populations are transitioning to a mayor-controlled public education system.

Mayoral control is predicated on the premise that the public educational system has failed far too many students, mainly students of color, who are disproportionately affected by high dropout rates and low testing scores and who, many proponents of these educational reforms say, are being left behind in the competitive work force, especially against other students in different countries, along with their European counterparts.

But many opposition groups to mayoral control have asked what will happen when another mayor comes along who is not as vested in public education as their predecessor? Others assert that mayoral control is not about the students, but about politics.

While the Bloomberg administration has said that the achievement gap is closing, graduation rates are climbing and test scores are up since 2002,studies are continuously being revealed that show the measurements the administration are using may not be fully accurate. And others have said that public education is now too focused on showing these "measurable" stats of improvement over the quality of the education that students are exposed to, in addition to making the test easy to pass in the process. They charge that schools have become "testing mills."

At the press conference on Monday against mayoral control, Weusi read from a paper in front of the podium that stated, "Under dictatorial powers of the mayor—police rule in the schools; criminalization of children; continuation of the classroom to prison pipeline; excessive high stakes testing; crowded classrooms; harassment of veteran teachers; the notorious 'rubber room'; reckless and excessive spending of public money; using charter schools as a means to privatize public schools creating a three-tier public school system; no discussion, no debate, no democratic tradition; no libraries with books; no science and computer labs in all schools; charters in minority neighborhoods with all-white staffs; no independent parent organization of training establishment of an independent commission to evaluate education; no educational leader of NYC public schools—for all these reasons and more, we say NO to mayoral control."

Perkins concluded, "We want the people to understand this loss is not the end of the movement to empower our parents and bring transparency and accountability to our schools, bring back art and culture to the curriculum and curb the excessive policing in our schools. The organizing will continue because they are angrier than ever.

"Until our children get the type of education they are entitled to without the fudging of the numbers and the procurement practices and the Bloomberg buddy system are brought to light, the organizing will continue," said Perkins. "Obviously, the answer is a new mayor who will listen to and bring about the changes that the parents have continued to demand. For parents, this is the most important issue in this upcoming election."